Strange as it may seem, designs for websites don’t always consider the copy. You’ll often see dummy text — lorem ipsum — used to show what the site will look like when the content is added. But we think it’s better to use real copy right away. Here’s why.

Let’s lose lorem ipsum

Are you wondering what lorem ipsum is? It’s a piece of Latin text used to test the layout of a document or web page because it looks like normal copy. (Find out more and generate your own lorem ipsum.)

So what’s wrong with a bit of dummy copy? Nothing, according to user experience designer and content strategist Karen McGrane, who writes here that lorem ipsum is ‘an occasionally useful tool that, used intentionally, may help solve some problems’. Karen argues that using lorem ipsum helps clients focus and feed back on a design without getting distracted by draft copy that’s going to change anyway.

At Polon, we’re not so sure. In an interview for Adaptive Path that Karen quotes in her post, fellow content strategist Kristina Halvorson counters this argument. She says: “What kills me here is that we’re talking about creating a user experience that will (whether we like it or not) be DRIVEN by words. The entire structure of the page or app flow is FOR THE WORDS.”

We’re with Kristina on this one. And it seems the folks at 37 Signals — who know a thing or two about creating effective web applications — agree. Not only do they know that copywriting is interface design, they also urge you to use real words, not lorem ipsum. Why? Because ‘dummy text is a veil between you and reality’.

They argue that ‘you need real copy to know how long certain fields should be. You need real copy to see how tables will expand or contract. You need real copy to know what your app truly looks like’.

We couldn’t agree more. Write for real people and use real words.

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Small by design

Because Polon is a small studio (run by Matt and Janet), there are no layers of account management – you get to work directly with a writer.

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